In the United States alone, more than 35,000 people commit suicide annually. This translates to about 94 people per day! Across all ages, sexes and races, suicide is the 11th leading cause of death. Unlike terminal illness where a patient can be definitively diagnosed and treated for pain or discomfort, suicidal depression is a more complex issue. Suicidal thoughts aren’t always verbalized, and, oftentimes, suicidal signs can be difficult to identify.

Depression, anxiety and addiction are the mental health conditions that most often correspond with suicide, though schizophrenia, bipolar depression, other psychiatric conditions, and even chronic pain can also result in suicidal thoughts. Those experiencing personal trauma—a death in the family, divorce, abuse, or extreme stress—are also at risk. 

Depression with suicidal thoughts can be present long before it is recognized, diagnosed, or treated. There is hope, though: individuals who proactively manage their depression or other mood disorders are oftentimes able to lead normal, rich and fulfilling lives.

This brief guide will help you learn to identify suicidal signs before it’s too late.

Suicidal Signs: What to Look Out For

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (AFSP) advises us to monitor the following behaviors: talk, behavior and mood.

Talk
It goes without saying that if an individual talks about committing suicide or wanting to die, talk to them, or help them get connected with a mental health professional as soon as possible. Other warning signs include a feeling of being trapped, debilitating emotional or physical pain, or the idea that friends and family would be better off without them.

Behavior
Is a friend, family member or loved one searching online for information or materials with which to commit suicide? Have they been visiting friends or relatives to say their goodbyes? Those are the obvious signs, but other, more subtle signs include drug and alcohol abuse, reckless behavior, isolating, sleep disturbances, aggressive behavior, and giving away their personal belongings.

Mood
Mindset can be a major indicator of suicidal depression. Watch for extreme sadness, indifference, anger, irritability, anxiety and shame.

What to Do if You Suspect Suicidal Ideation

Suspect a friend, family or loved one is having suicidal thoughts or ideations? The first step is ask questions to better gauge their likelihood of committing suicide. Consider the following sensitive yet direct questions:

Do you feel like giving up on life?
Have you tried to hurt yourself, or put yourself in harm’s way?
Have you thought about committing suicide? 

Asking these questions may feel uncomfortable, or even dangerous, but rather than push an individual closer to suicide, you’ll be giving them a refreshing opportunity to talk about their feelings in a safe environment.

If you believe that a person is at risk of committing suicide, encourage them to call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255). 

If you believe a person could potentially harm themselves or others, contact your local police department to file a Section 136. A Section 136 enables the police to bring the individual to a safe place for a mental health evaluation and assessment. Based on the results, the individual may be provided with an intensive treatment program.

As for treating suicidal depression medically, options are imperfect at best. Treatments for suicidal depression include antidepressants, psychotherapy, electroconvulsive therapy and ketamine infusions. Recently, ketamine infusions have shown huge hope in treating suicidal depression and ideation. Read more about the study here. We have seen ketamine infusions dramatically improve the symptoms of suicidal depression in many individuals, helping them to establish rich and fulfilling lives.

Certainly, you should explore all depression treatment options—different methodologies will evoke a different response in each individual patient. 

Contact Ascend Ketamine

If you or someone you know needs treatment for suicidal thoughts or ideations, please contact us. Ketamine infusions successfully treat suicidal depression in up to 70% of patients— it could be the miracle you’ve been looking for. We are Houston’s leading provider of ketamine infusions for depression, psychiatric disorders and chronic pain conditions, and would love to opportunity to help you or a loved one along the path towards hope and happiness.